Warning: Spoilers ahead!
SEESO's new original show Take My Wife stars L.A. comedians Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher. The duo, who are married in real life, play a couple journeying through the highs and lows of a standup career. The six 23-minute episodes flew by quickly, but the final episode was the one that really sold me.
A main plot in the latter half of the season revolves around a famous actress, Melina (Janet Varney), shadowing Cameron to prepare for a role as a "quirky" comedian from Chicago. Cameron, thrilled to be in the presence of a beautiful movie star who wants to follow her around, in enamored by her celeb status (and breasts), and makes not-so-subtle jokes about having a threesome with her and Rhea, to which Rhea rolls her eyes and ignores. The plot peaks when Melina kisses Cameron passionately, telling her that Rhea doesn’t have to know. It was a classic affair line, one that is typically followed by a passionate make out session and at least 1-2 episodes where the protagonists struggles with finding a way to tell their significant other.
Surprisingly, Cameron comes clean just 5 minutes later, and because it was the last episode, this caused me to wonder what type of dramatic cliff hanger would be set in place for the season finale. Would Cameron and Rhea stay together, or are they building up to a breakup so season 2 can be geared towards reconciliation?
As Cameron comes clean to Rhea, she shrugs. She shrugs, because quite honestly, there are bigger fish to fry. Rhea has over 60 thousand dollars of student loan debt, and a broken laptop to boot. Throughout their confrontation you realize the kiss is not the focal point of the episode, it's Rhea's debt and her worries that high interests rates and monthly payments will muddy her future with Cameron.
“You're not mad about the kiss? Because she like, really kissed me,” Cameron says to Rhea.
Reah looks tired. “Do you want me to be mad?”
“No, of course not, tell me about the student loans!" Cameron says, rushing over to Reah's side.
(*MAJOR* SPOILER RN) After Cameron says she wants to help Rhea and stand by her through student loan nightmare, Rhea proposes. It was romantic. It was oddly comforting. It was as real to me as my own student loans, collecting dust (and interest) every month until I pay my monthly installment on the 15th.
This is a brilliant plot resolution, if you can even call it one. As someone who spends approximately 5-6 cumulative hours a week talking about how deeply I love The Affair, I hope it’s clear I’m not above the juiciness and drama of infidelity on screen (especially when Joshua Jackson applies--team Pacey for life). I’m not. But the dialogue between Cameron and Rhea felt deeply applicable to men and women in their mid twenties/early thirties who are dealing with post-grad realities, while simultaneously trying to build a life with someone they love. Rhea being more concerned about her student loans and climbing interest rates than the threat of another woman felt honest, especially to an American audience that combined owes $1.3 trillion in student loan debt, spread out among about 44 million borrowers. It’s an honest moment, because you can trust your partner fully and love them, and yet, a road bump can occur. Rather than letting it shape the entire worth of yourself and your relationship (or the rest of your shows season), you talk about it honestly. Rhea's blasé reaction only allowed me to see the depths of their love more clearly-- a kiss from a pretty actress is most likely just a kiss, but student loans are forever (don’t forget to pay them).
Cover Photo in Newsletter by WIRED Magazinefor